Cherry Creek Theatre Company launches their second season as a resident company at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center with a regional premiere RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women. The show is a musical review written by Dr. Dorothy Marcic based on her book, RESPECT: Women and Popular Music. For the Cherry Creek Theatre production director Shannan Steele and the company draw an original image of the show and create a gathering of friends celebrating one of the women’s book release. I asked Steele about how the concept developed.
EL: RESPECT is often produced as a revue and your production really creates a setting and Character/storyline. How did this approach develop?
SS: After reading the script, I felt there were personal elements for each of the characters that could easily get lost in the traditional review formula where the show is more presentational in nature. I wanted to see if the piece could land in a structure where women felt strong and connected enough to share their stories of struggle with each other, along with discovering the joys of how certain songs helped describe those pains…and then how other songs helped release those pains to allow real JOY to surface.
SS: For a show about the journey of women, I wanted the audience to observe 5 strong women (the show is actually written for 4…I built in the presence of the piano player as a true addition to the room, a fellow woman/friend/support) share their vulnerabilities, inside and out of the context of the music AS WELL as within the actual text. I wanted our journey over the last century not only to be shared through the songs of the time, the political and social achievements, but also through the triumphs available to all of us TODAY. The personal, emotional, perspective enhancing TRIUMPHS we all can find with each other.
SS: This concept required an intimate setting…a place welcoming enough to facilitate the kind of safe space where true sharing can occur. Hence the living room set design.
SS: The piece had windows for this concept to work, and I trusted my cast and crew to dive into the challenge with me. All those WOMEN rose to the challenge and I couldn’t be more proud.
Cherry Creek Theatre description of the show:
From “Someone to Watch Over Me” to “I Will Survive,” from the codependence of “I Will Follow Him” to the anger of “These Boots are Made for Walking,” to the cynicism of “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and finally to the strength of “Hero,” “RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women” is told through Top-40 music in this timely off-Broadway new musical production. Combining excerpts of 60 songs with women’s own stories about finding dreams, lost love, relationship issues, entering the workforce, gaining independence and more.
The company proudly highlights this is an all female company:
cast Sharon Kay White* (Janet), Rachel Turner (Samantha), Sarah Rex* (Eden) and Anna High (Rosa).
Along with producer Susie Snodgrass and directors Shannan Steele and Traci Kern, the all female crew includes Kortney Hanson (Stage Manager), Tina Anderson (Scenic Designer), Star Pytel (Lighting Designer), Steffani Day (Costume Designer), Morgan McCauley (Sound Designer), Beki Pineda (Prop Mistress) and Gloria Shanstrom (Publicist).
The audience on opening night, including the male identified attendees, seemed to enjoy the show in equal measure. While the evening unfolded I found myself responding to the music of course, after all they include so many great songs, and I also realized I wanted to know these women. It would be great fun to be part of this group of friends, and join in for one of these gatherings, and in a way, for this night, we all were.
Cherry Creek Theatre Company presents the Regional Premiere of
RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women
Written by Dr. Dorothy Marcic
Directed by Henry Award Nominee Shannan Steele
Musical Direction by Traci Kern
February 1 – February 25, 2018
performances are:Thursdays and Sunday, February 18 & 25 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
Single tickets are $35; $30 for seniors/students online at 303-800-6578 or online at www.cherrycreektheatre.org.